Friday, April 29, 2011

Texas Roadhouse, Middletown, NY

See the update at the bottom before going to the Roadhouse. 

I haven't looked at chains in quite a bit, with the exception of Krispy Kreme, and there was a new Texas Roadhouse in Middletown, so I figured why not give them a try? We got there at quarter to six and were told there was a ten to twenty minute wait and given one of those buzzers that let you know when they are ready to seat you. While we waited I looked at the display of steaks in the cooler where the girl was asking if I wanted to select my own steak. Seems you can tag you own cut of meat like choosing a lobster in a seafood restaurant. I decided to look closer at the menu before I made a decision like that. Besides, looking at the raw cuts of steak made me realize that they didn't look any better than I see at Adam's. Twenty minutes later, on the dot, we were buzzed and shown to our table.

We looked over the menu and saw that the appetizers were reasonably priced so we ordered fried pickles and the Baby Blossom (blooming onion) at four bucks each. Both were good sized, and both came with Cajun horseradish dipping sauce. The onions were good, nicely fried and tasty. The pickles however were not so good as they were sliced so thin and overcooked that they were closer to fried cardboard with little taste. The best fried pickles I've had was at Goose Island Pub in Chicago, for a chain I'd recommend the fried pickles at Zaxby's Chicken.

For the entree I chose Ribeye steak and ribs at twenty bucks. I ordered the steak medium rare and when it arrived I cut it to find that they delivered a well-done steak to me. I pointed it out to the waitress and she said to nibble on it and she'd bring me one cooked right. I ate the ribs, not bad but a bit overcooked, while I waited. Less than five minutes later my new steak appeared and it was much closer to being properly cooked, half of it being medium and half being medium rare. Teresa's steak was cooked correctly at medium well.

The waitress asked me if my new steak wasn't the most awesome steak ever and she seemed a bit delfated when I simply said that it was okay. Going back to that earlier comment about seeing the steaks in the case, I can buy a cut at least equal to what they offered at the store and I can probably cook it better.

Overall, not a bad visit and we will go back again, but we're not in a rush to do so. The service was excellent, the prices good and the food okay. The atmosphere is a bit loud and crowded, but that's all part of the roadhouse thing I guess. They do have some specials, like meals for under ten buck before six o'clock Monday to Friday and that's probably when we'll go back because that's about what the food is worth. They have a website for more information.

Update 1/20/12- Well, we did indeed go back but that will probably never happen again. Once again I had to send the steak back. Now I believe they bill themselves as a steakhouse so I find this a bit ridiculous. Yes, they do make the correction but I'm 0 for 2 on getting it right the first time. Besides, I go to eat with my wife so we can eat together, not so I can watch her eat while my food is being re-fired and then having her watch me eat when it comes back.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hot Pink Cake Stand, Wilmington, NC

This is a picture of that elusive dream I've been chasing, that Quixotic quest for bacon perfection, my Holy Grail. Yes folks, this is a bacon cupcake and I got it at the Hot Pink Cake Stand on Front Street in Wilmington, North Carolina. I figured since I tried the other cupcake place in Wilmington I should stop by here to do a comparison. Well, I'm not a cupcake aficionado so to me the two stores were close, but I'd give a slight edge to Hot Pink for moistness of the cupcake. I also like the fact that you can sit and watch them create the masterpieces.

The Bacon cupcake had bacon flavor in the cake part, the whipped part and of course on the top. It was mixed with a light maple flavor and tasted quite good, and quite addicting. We also had a Cadbury Egg cupcake and a lemon drop cupcake. Overall a neat experience and we'll be visiting them again.

They have a website with more information and you can friend them on facebook too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boomballatti's revisited, Wilmington, NC

To your left please note a lovely two scoop ice cream sundae, one scoop is chocolate peanut butter and the other is chocolate swirl. It is covered in hot fudge, whipped cream and peanuts and cost around four bucks from Boomballatti's Ice Cream on Military Cutoff in Wilmington.

The ice cream is made right there and the prices are right. Three adults and four children had ice cream there for under twenty dollars.

Krispy Kreme Donuts, Wilmington, NC

We had a Krispy Kreme in Middletown a few years ago. One day when I went there for a donut and coffee I saw that they were closed, the windows covered with brown paper and my eyes covered with tears. I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it, heck I carried my coffee club card around for almost a year hoping it was just a temporary thing. It wasn't, and I didn't get closure on the issue until I finally threw the card away.

Given my love for the glazed Krispy Kreme you have to realize that whenever I find one I just have to stop. In Wilmington, on College, sits a beautiful building housing my favorites, glazed donuts and black coffee. Usually I stop out, eat two, and bring a dozen back to the house for the grandkids but today we were headed out for ice cream so it was a simple breakfast of two donuts and coffee. The donuts were pulled off the conveyor belt still dripping that glorious glaze.

I know, some of my Wilmington friends will tell me there are better donuts in town and I'm sure they're right. But a Krispy Kreme donut? That's my idea of true comfort food. Now if only they had one with bacon on it . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flaming Amy's Revisited

We stopped at Flaming Amy's last year and loved the place. It smacks of kitsch and fun and I love some of the signs there, like, "Unattended children will be given expresso and a free puppy."

The last Time I had the Big Fat Greek Burrito, and I loved it, so this time I was going to order the same. I looked at the extensive (but not expensive) menu and I got the Po Boy Burrito. It was amazing. You know the feeling when you finish eating something really good and you don't want to eat or drink anything else so you don't wash that taste out of your mouth?Well, this was one of those times.

Teresa got the Tai Me Up burrito and we picked up a veggie burrito to go (shown at left) to bring home for our daughters.

Flaming Amy's is just a fun place to get a good cheap meal. In fact they say, hot, fast cheap and easy and it is. The staff is tattooed and friendly, the girl who waited on us had a big smile and she reminded me of Kat VonnD from LA Ink. Check out their website for more info, or friend them on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Olympia Greek Restaurant revisited, Wilmington, NC

Last Summer we visited Olympia in Wilmington and we had a great meal. This week we (eleven of us including four children) were set to go out to a restaurant that I've raved about and we had a $25 coupon from that we'd purchased. When we looked at the door my daughter noticed a sign that said they were no longer accepting certificates from that company so we all looked at each other and debated where to go. After a few minutes we decided to go to Olympia where we knew we'd get a good meal and be taken care of.

There was a slight bit of confusion when we went in as to the number of us, but we counted once again and determined that there were indeed eleven of us. That allowed the waitresses to set up the tables for us.

I started with a Mythos. If you've never had one imagine a German beer like a Saint Pauli Girl and you're close.

I was thinking about trying something a bit different, like a seafood dish, but in the end I decided on the beef gyros, see the picture below. What I did try different was the Saganaki, which is cheese over sliced tomatoes and set on fire as it is delivered. A nice twist and a tasty dish. I've seen it done a bit better in Greek Town in Chicago with more fanfare, but the taste was very good. The others in our party had the personal pizzas, veggie pitas, two more gyros, chicken fingers for the kids, and hummus and pita. All were good.

As I mentioned before, I decided to have the gyros, my favorite here, and it was as good as ever with crisp fries and a very well executed taziki sauce.

Olympia is a good Greek Restaurant in Wilmington.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coastal Cupcakes, Wilmington, NC

I’m not a huge sweets fan, but I had a craving for a cupcake while we were downtown in Wilmington so we popped into Coastal Cupcakes for a treat. I’d read once that they make bacon cupcakes and when I asked about it they said they do on occasion, but today wasn’t one of those occasions. No matter, we chose six different cupcakes and split them among four adults and four kids. They are rich enough that one is enough and a half of one is plenty for a small child.

Very good cupcakes, but a bit pricey at fourteen dollars for a half dozen. Okay, they were worth it and I still want that bacon cupcake. They have a website for more information.

The Basics at the Cotton Exchange, Wilmington, NC

My daughter Rachel told me about The Basics at the Cotton Exchange, she said she had a great burger there, so on this visit to Wilmington we decided to stop by. After eating there, all I can say is that she was right. The food is excellent, the service friendly and the prices right. Four adults and four children ate for fifty bucks plus tip. Well, three children ordered, the seventeen month old ate a bit from everyone else. About the tip, I forgot to add it to the charge (I was going to leave cash on the table and just forgot) and I called them a couple of hours later and apologized to the girl. She said she could add it to the bill.

I had the burger of the day, bacon and cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, with BBQ. I opted out of the BBQ. For the side I chose the salad with a nice blue cheese vinaigrette dressing on the side, but I could have had mac and cheese or any one of a few other choices. Teresa had the fried green tomato sandwich with bacon. Nicole had the grilled pimento sandwich with tomato soup and a side of the mac and cheese, two of the kids had chicken fingers (nicely spiced) with a side of fruit. All were very good, my burger was one of the best I’ve had.

If you haven’t been there yet, I recommend you pay them a visit, and soon. I do recommend the lunch menu instead of dinner. I think the selection is bigger and the value better. They have a website for more information.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nu-Cavu, Wallkill. Another great meal.

One of my favorite places to eat is the Nu-Cavu Restaurant in Wallkill and I had an urge to go there for the Pescadore, it was a Friday in Lent after all. As always, the food was delicious, the service excellent and the atmosphere warm and friendly. Teresa had the eggplant lasagna and we shared the Raspberry Tower shown to the left. Raspberry sorbet coated in chocolate. Rich and tasty.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Fishkill, NY

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse is one of those places we've been to many times and we've been hot and cold about it. Sometimes it's very good and sometimes we found them to be lacking. It had been a while since we visited one last so we decided to stop at the Fishkill, NY location and try them again.

We were seated promptly and when we got the menus we saw they'd made a few changes and a few things looked interesting. As we were deciding what to order the manager came by to see how we were doing and made some suggestions. That was nice. I decided on the seven ounce Filet Mignon with crab and bacon topping. I ordered it medium rare and it came a bit closer to medium, but not by much. What I did like was that the meat had rested long enough that when I sliced it the juices didn't come running out. The topping was good, but a bit bland.

Teresa had the Chicken Florentine shown here. She said it was good, but one of the pieces of chicken was juicier and tastier than the other. I tasted and agreed with her. We didn't leave much behind though, even after doing a good job on the salad bar. By the way, they have a good salad bar with plenty of choices.

Our total bill was around forty bucks for two good meals and good service. They have a website for more information.